821.796/8–2446: Telegram

The Ambassador in Colombia (Wiley) to the Secretary of State


606. I had interview with President Ospina Pérez yesterday. I told him word had reached me that Minister of War37 had issued instructions temporarily to relicense three ex-Scadta pilots as co-pilots for employment by Colombian airlines. I expressed fear this was intended as first step to reactivate large group of German pilots and mechanics still in Colombia. I explained our concern over the defense of the Panama Canal and the western Caribbean, and added I could visualize with apprehension headlines in American press to the effect that one of first acts of new conservative administration had been to relicense notorious ex-Scadta pilots, mechanics and airfield managers.

The President is very sensitive to criticism and as I handed him list of ex-Scadta pilots he said this was the first he had heard of the matter and he would at once consult the Minister of War.

[Page 664]

On August 27 I will also send the President a list of ex-Scadta mechanics and airport managers. The situation is somewhat complicated because several of the pilots have taken Colombian citizenship and have married Colombians. I shall also discuss the matter with Foreign Minister38 and other officials and keep Dept informed.39 I believe it important to keep if possible Colombian aviation free of these more than dubious elements particularly since both Taca and Avianca are seeking permission to enter Balboa.40

  1. Luis Tamayo.
  2. Francisco Umaña Bernal.
  3. In telegram 471, August 27, 1946, 5 p.m., to Bogotá, the Department expressed full approval of this action.
  4. For documentation on air routes, see pp. 666 ff.